Deandre Desir

Special Music School High School Class of 2018

“Musical training teaches people how to be better leaders, speakers and interpreters. Music is great for development in and of itself, but it also builds skills like teamwork, cooperation, ensuring that not only your voice is heard, and being able to build something for a greater good in the long term.”

As a child growing up in NYC and Guyana, Deandre Desir never imagined that he’d become a musician. A reluctant piano student, he took up the trumpet in middle school and then switched to the euphonium in order, he says, to sit next to a flutist he had a crush on in band practice. At Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School, Deandre loved his teachers and fellow students and got serious about music. “The music education was really top notch,” he says, “and the support network was very strong. I felt as though I was seen.” Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music exposed him to music he’d never heard before and sparked his interest in contemporary composers. He blossomed as a tuba player and won a full scholarship to Juilliard.

Fast forward to 2022: Since graduating from Juilliard last spring, Deandre has joined the Parallel Brass quintet, recorded with Metropolis Ensemble, and is working towards professional certification in Leadership and Communication at Harvard. He’s currently applying to PhD programs in musicology.

A committed educator from an early age, Deandre began tutoring his fellow SMS students as an 11th grader, an experience he credits with improving his speaking skills and preparing him for future faculty roles. “Those skills were built in very early at SMS, and I’m very grateful for that,” he notes.

A Juilliard Pre-College teacher since his junior year, Deandre joined the Special Music School High School faculty this fall as a music theory instructor. Returning to his alma mater as a faculty member has been fun, from working alongside his former teachers to connecting with students whose experience he shares so closely. “I went through the very process that they are going through now,” he notes, “and I think that allows many of them to let their guard down and trust me without my having to ask.”

When he’s not teaching or performing, Deandre enjoys researching art history and learning about all things sound-related, including acoustics, hifi, engineering and mathematics.

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